Max Verstappen believes his Oracle Red Bull Racing team can be happy with their Friday at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, despite the Dutchman ending only fifth fastest overall.
Verstappen, the winner of the past two Grand Prix in Emilia Romagna and Miami, says the long run pace of the RB18 appears to be good at this stage of the Spanish Grand Prix weekend, but they are still lacking pace over a single lap, which will be all-important when it comes to Saturday’s Qualifying session.
He also said that the Pirelli tyres are finding it tough around the Barcelona track, and it will be important for Red Bull to find a solution to minimise their issues across the rest of the weekend.
“Overall it’s been a good day, the long runs look positive so we can be happy with that,” said Verstappen. “It has been a bit tricky to find the right balance with the heat and we still have a lot of work to do over one lap.
“It’s tough on the tyres around here, we are not on top of that just yet but at least we know the weather will be consistent tomorrow. I’m looking forward to pushing hard as a Team come qualifying tomorrow.
“It was also good to have Juri [Vips] with us in FP1, I hope he enjoyed his first session in the RB18.”
“Everything comes fast when you miss a session” – Sergio Pérez
Team-mate Sergio Pérez only had one session behind the wheel of his RB18 thanks to the team allowing test driver Jüri Vips an opportunity in first practice, and the Mexican said it took time to get up to speed on Friday afternoon.
Pérez says there is still work to do if they want to be a contender for pole position on Saturday, but there is a lot of positivity surrounding Red Bull’s long run pace. However, he will be looking to get as high up the grid as possible when it comes to Qualifying.
“Everything comes fast when you miss a session, I was getting up to speed this afternoon and experiencing the tyre degradation – it means you basically have two laps because it is not a track that helps you with the tyres,” said Pérez. “You have one lap to read the balance and then after that you are just getting up to speed but you don’t have great grip.
“I was able to get a read on the long runs and hopefully overnight I can find the time I need to be in contention for the fight for pole. I will do some extra work on low fuel in the morning during FP3 to see which direction to take but we are confident we know.
“It was nice to be able to lend my car to Juri for the morning, I think he had a good time out there and did some important work for the Team.”